Spicy Spanish Rice

Okay, time for a confession…rice has not always been my strong suit when it comes to cooking.  For some reason, I’ve always had a tough time with rice.  I’m not talking about the steamed rice boiled in a pot; I can handle that.  I’m talking about Spanish Rice, Rice Pilaf, and similar varietals.  Ever since giving up Rice-A-Roni and attempting to make it on my own, I just haven’t been able to get it right.  It’s either under/over seasoned, too dry, too soggy, undercooked and crunchy, or a hot, mushy mess.  When I attempted to serve rice to friends and family I usually served it with a disclaimer of “well, I made rice, but don’t feel obligated to eat eat”.  Yikes.

Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally gotten it right.   I know, it isn’t  rocket science, but after many years, I

have figured out a way to make Spanish Rice that I don’t have to serve with a disclaimer.  And that makes me happy…

So, here’s my recipe for Spicy Spanish Rice.  It’s really quite simple, but it’s tasty.  I recently served it with

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos; it was a great side dish and made good leftovers too.

1 Cup of long grain rice-I prefer white rice for this dish.

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Medium yellow onion, chopped

2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced

1 Can Ro-Tel tomatoes-I used the “hot” Ro-Tel, and it was pretty spicy.  If you’re not into extra spicy food, you might want to choose the mild or medium

1 Cup water

1 Cup chicken stock

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent, this should take about 5 minutes.   Once the onion begins to soften, add the rice and cook it until it browns, stirring frequently.  Once the rice is browned, add the water, stock, and Ro-Tel and bring to a boil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the skillet tightly with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer the rice for 20 minutes.

You can add lots of other stuff to the rice if you want to get creative.  I’ve added chili powder and cumin, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, or green onion, so experiment with ingredients and find what you like!

Another picture with the fancy camera…nice isn’t it?

Advertisements

Rigatoni with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Sauce

This recipe was an instant favorite in our house; it was incredibly easy to make and sooo good!

My husband and I are big fans of spicy food, so we really enjoyed this one.  It’s not eye-watering spicy, but just enough heat and flavor to add a little kick.  The original recipe for this dish included heavy cream. I wanted to lighten it up a little so I changed it up a bit, but I bet it would be super good with cream!! You could probably skip the milk as well if you want a more tomato-style sauce.

Here’s the recipe for Rigatoni with Sausage and Spicy Tomato Sauce:

Inspired by the recipe: Sausage with Rigatoni and Tomato Cream Sauce

1 Package of Rigatoni pasta, cooked to al dente

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of flour

1 cup milk (I used 1%-that’s what I had in my fridge)

1 Pound of Italian Sausage, casings removed

1 Large yellow onion (or 2 small), thinly sliced

2 Medium garlic cloves, chopped

1 Cup chicken stock

1 Can of Ro-Tel tomatoes

1/2 Teaspoon of salt (or to taste)

1/2 Teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (I may have used more like 1 1/2 teaspoons; add in 1/2 teaspoon at a time until you have the desired flavor.  I like spicy food, so I add more!)

1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 Teaspoon chili powder

1 Teaspoon garlic powder or salt

Large handful of parmesan cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Once the olive oil is heated, add the butter and allow it to melt.  Add the onion and saute it until it begins to caramelize.  Remove the Italian Sausage from the casings and add it to the sauteed onion; break the sausage up with a wooden spoon as it cooks and brown it until it is completely cooked through.  Add the garlic and cook for about 2-3 more minutes, then drain the extra fat.

After you’ve drained the fat, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the sausage/onion mixture and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil, then allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes or until the broth has reduced.  I reduced it by about half so the pasta would be thicker.  Add the Ro-tel tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the milk, then bring back to a boil.  Once the sauce has begun to boil again, reduce back down to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes more.  Add the red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic salt or powder, and salt and pepper and stir to combine the ingredients.  I allowed the sauce to simmer for about another 10 minutes, but you don’t have to do this step if you don’t want to or are short on time.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.  Add a large handful of parmesan cheese to the pasta and combine.  I also sprinkled a little extra parmesan cheese on top before serving.

I served this pasta with homemade garlic bread with parmesan cheese; the bread was great for dipping in the sauce.  So yummy!!!!

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll Ups

Let me just start by saying, these things are A-MAZING!  One of the tastiest appetizers I’ve had since discovering Buffalo Chicken Dip!  I made this for two holiday gatherings this week, everyone loved them and they were gone in a flash!

Here’s a link to the original recipe I found on Pinterest: Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups.  These were super easy to make and I pretty much followed the recipe exactly.  When I made it a second time, I decided to add corn (the picture of this recipe is from the first time I made them and doesn’t have corn).  I’m thinking about adding black beans to the recipe the next time I make it (black beans might be a great substitute for chicken if you’d like to make a meat-free version).  Pepper Jack cheese might also be a great addition as well…this is such a simple and versatile recipe that I think there’s tons of variations possible.  No matter what, it’s fantastic and I will be making this recipe again and again!!

Here’s the recipe for Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll-Ups: 

 

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes, drained

1 large container of softened cream cheese (13.5 oz size)-you could probably use light cream cheese if you’d like to lighten it up a bit; I don’t think you’d lose any flavor.

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

3 teaspoons chili powder, divided

2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Salt, to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, about a small handful

6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

About 3/4 cup canned corn, drained.  I used about 3/4 of the can of corn

6-8 large flour tortillas-I used spinach tortillas and jalapeno cheddar tortillas;  I think the jalapeno cheddar tasted best but having the different colored tortillas looked nice for presentation.  I would recommend using flavored tortillas if you can; I think plain tortillas would take away from the flavor and presentation.

Season the chicken breasts with salt, one teaspoon of cumin, and one teaspoon of chili powder.  Place the chicken in a skillet and add one cup of water.  Cover and cook on medium-high heat until cooked through; this took about 15-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on the chicken while it cooks; if the water cooksout of the pan you may need to add a little extra.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan.  Allow the meat to cool until it is cool enough to handle, and shred it with two forks.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, drained Ro-Tel tomatoes, cheese, 2 teaspoons of chili powder, one teaspoon of cumin, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, garlic, cilantro, onion and corn and combine until mixed well.  Add the chicken to the cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Spread the filling out evenly among the center of the tortillas.  Be sure to spread a thin layer and leave the edges clean. Roll the tortillas up tightly, but do not fold the ends of the tortilla as you would when preparing a burrito, just leave the ends free.   Using a sharp knife, slice the tortillas into one inch slices and transfer to a serving platter.  You won’t be able to use the ends of the tortilla, so the best part is that you’ll have to just eat them!

If you are making these ahead of time, you can refrigerate the filling until you are ready to prepare the roll ups.  I wouldn’t prepare the roll ups the night before as this could make the tortillas dry or soften.  I made the filling the night before, and the roll ups an hour or so before serving.